Principle 1 - Connecting to core responsibilities
From this work, MNL has developed four key principles that will lead the development of future LADR material and programs. The first is to base the training on the existing activities of municipal councils.
Municipal leaders, whether elected or staff, have an immense responsibility simply in delivering the day-to-day services residents expect. This challenge grows as revenue options shrink and service expectations increase. While participants in past LADR workshops were enthusiastic and appreciative, it became clear that many were ill equipped to implement the ideas generated at a LADR workshop on top of their existing workload.
In addition, many seemed to see economic development as a separate, distinct function – apart from their core role as municipal governments. Again, economic development becomes “specialty” that requires outside expertise and, likely, significant investment in new processes, new staff and new materials.
MNL believes the greatest impact municipalities can have on economic development is through the informed, strategic use of their existing authorities. They must ensure their services and investments are delivered with economic development as an integral part of the decision-making process.
Principle 2 - Multi-stream delivery
While workshops have been the backbone of LADR since its inception, there are opportunities to expand the delivery mechanisms to meet new needs of members. For example, an Economic Development Officer with a large municipality is likely more interested in research or contacts he or she can get online as opposed to attending a training workshop.
MNL must ensure that it makes LADR materials available via stand alone workshops, as sessions within another organization’s event, via an enhanced web presence, and as printed material that councils can use one their own or with the help of an economic development professional.
Principle 3 - Interactive, practice-based training
The survey respondents indicated they were most satisfied with small group, interactive training that drew on their everyday experiences as councillors and municipal staff. LADR made significant use of these kinds of techniques in the second and third round of workshops. This approach is critical if participants are to truly link their own experiences and activities to economic development.
Principle 4 - Support and aftercare
Most municipal leaders work with little or no professional advice or support for their decisions. This is even more so when issues stray outside the day-to-day activities required by legislation. If our work with LADR is to have lasting impact, it will be necessary to put in place a support system that provides LADR participants with aftercare.
The most effective approach would be to provide the existing network of supports, REDB, INTRD, ACOA and Rural Secretariat staff with training and materials from the LADR program.